Japanese Names: It is so confusing!

Being in a multi-national company, I get to be in contact with colleagues in other countries. One of the countries is Japan. Despite being immersed in the world of anime and manga (yes, I am a closet otaku), I still cannot figure out Japanese names. 😮

Western names usually go <GivenName> <FamilyName> (Jim Carter), whereas Chinese names are in the order of <FamilyName> <GivenName> (Cao Ge). A variant of Chinese name happens when Chinese adopts English name, be it being baptised or for convenience: <EnglishName> <FamilyName> <GivenName> (Gary Cao Ge), or <FamilyName> <GivenName>, <EnglishName> (Cao Ge, Garry). Some simply drop the Chinese portion of the name for convenience, Gary Cao.

However for Japanese name, what is the sequence? In anime or manga, it usually goes <FamilyName> <GivenName>, ie. Uchiha Sasuke. Correct? Simply as it is? No. In the business setting, as I have learnt the hard way and despite of asking on Plurk (it is in private, even if I link it, most cannot see it anyway), it is the other way round, <GivenName> <FamilyName>, ie. Sasuke Uchiha. This is in line with the Western naming convention.

It is so confusing. 😯

3 comments On Japanese Names: It is so confusing!

  • Pingback: Robert ()

  • For Japan, the rules are simple.

    (1) When writing Japanese names in the Japanese language, it's

    (2) When writing Japanese names using the alphabet, you do it the "Western" way. This "Western name order" convention is used even by Japanese while in Japan, and having their names rendered using the alphabet.

    Further, "Westerners" living in Japan and having their names transliterated in to Japanese via the Katakana characters also retain the western style order.

    Thus, TOM CRUISE will remain TOM CRUISE in both the alphabet, and in Japanese katakana.

    The above Japanese conventions are borne out millions of times on a daily business, social, and serious publishing basis in Japan.

    The only violators of the above rules are so-called "scholars" in the West who insist on retaining Japanese name orders in English Language (etc) books and other documents. These "scholars" would do well to actually visit Japan and learn a few things.

    Have a nice day.

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